DescriptionAbout the book
On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
William Harvey (1578-1657) was a rebel in medical science: Contrary to contemporary practice, he began his epoch-making investigation into the action of the heart and the blood's circulation by minutely observing their action in live animals and by a lengthy series of dissections, rather than by mere reliance on the anatomical lessons of ancient medicine and philosophy. "On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals", including explanations of heart valves and arterial pulse, stands as a triumph of true scientific inquiry, and is still regarded as one of the greatest discoveries in physiology.
About the Author
William Harvey, 1578-1657
Harvey's initial education was carried out in Folkestone, where he learned Latin. He then entered the King's School (Canterbury). Harvey remained at the King's School for five years, after which he joined Caius College in Cambridge.
Harvey graduated as a Bachelor of Arts from Caius College in 1597. He then traveled through France and Germany to Italy, where he entered the University of Padua, apparently in 1598.
During Harvey's years of study there, he developed a relationship with Fabricius and read Fabricius' De Venarum Ostiolis.
Harvey graduated as a Doctor of Medicine at the age of 24 from the University of Padua on 25 April 1602. It reports that Harvey had
"conducted himself so wonderfully well in the examination and had shown such skill, memory and learning that he had far surpassed even the great hopes which his examiners had formed of him."
Elected a Fellow of the College of Physicians on 5 June 1607, Harvey accepted a position at St. Bartholomew's Hospital that he was to occupy for almost all the rest of his life. Succeeding a Dr Wilkinson on 14 October 1609, he became the Physician in charge at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, which enjoined him, "in God's most holy name" to "endeavor yourself to do the best of your knowledge in the profession of physic to the poor then present, or any other of the poor at any time of the week which shall be sent home unto you by the Hospitaller... You shall not, for favor, lucre or gain, appoint or write anything for the poor but such good and wholesome things as you shall think with your best advice will do the poor good, without any affection or respect to be had to the apothecary. And you shall take no gift or reward... for your counsel... This you will promise to do as you shall answer before God... "
Harvey earned around thirty-three pounds a year and lived in a small house in Ludgate, although two houses in West Smithfield were attached as fringe benefits to the post of Physician. At this point, the physician's function consisted of a simple but thorough analysis of patients who were brought to the hospital once a week and the consequent writing of prescriptions.